Cleveland Detective’s Work “Highly Commended” by International Policing Body

A Cleveland Police Detective has been highly commended by the International Association of Women Police (IAWP).

Detective Constable Rachel Graham of the Fraud Investigation Team was nominated by her supervision for the IAWP’s Excellence in Performance Award 2019.

DC Rachel Graham In a personal letter to Rachel, IAWP Annual Recognition Program Chair Annita Clarke said while there could only be one recipient of the award each year, Rachel’s application “so impressed the panel that it was felt [she] should be formally recognized.

Ms Clarke added that: “The calibre of applications from across the globe was extremely high this year, so to be highly commended is a great achievement.
And she finished by saying: “This letter serves as a recognition for your dedication and service to the communities you serve.”

Rachel has almost 28 years’ service as a police officer, spending five years as a uniformed constable, seven as a Child Protection Team Detective and 15 years in her current team within the Fraud team of the Economic Crime Unit (ECU).

She said:

“It was a lovely surprise to receive this recognition, but I must also credit the team I work with, our analysts and intelligence officers as well as colleagues from outside agencies providing crucial evidence, not forgetting the guidance and endeavours of the Crown Prosecution Service lawyers and barristers. By working together, the combined efforts of us all enabled us to get justice for the victims and their families.”

ECU Sergeant Andy King who nominated Rachel said he fully agreed with the IAWP’s comments about her work, adding:

“For Rachel, the victims’ needs are always close to her heart and she always makes sure robust support mechanisms are in place for these often vulnerable people.
“Throughout the complex investigations she has led, Rachel showed exceptional policing skills which ultimately led to successful convictions - as well as enabling victims and their families to try to rebuild their lives.

“Her meticulous attention to detail and dedication to duty, as well as her tenacity and determination, mean that a number of organised criminals are now serving lengthy prison sentences.

“And recommendations Rachel made during investigations have also led to improvements in other teams’ criminal investigations.  We also have officers who are benefitting directly from her voluntary mentoring work where she’s willingly sharing her considerable experience, knowledge and expertise. 

“Quite simply she is an outstanding detective who’s a great asset – not only to the Economic Crime Unit, but to Cleveland Police as a whole.”


The investigations overseen by DC Graham are:

Operation Lucky – a four year investigation (began in 2014), involving a vulnerable disabled woman who had won the National Lottery. She was targeted by 5 people who systematically defrauded her of a large sum of money.

The defendants in Operation Lucky received a total of 15 years’ imprisonment. His Lord Judge Simon Bourne-Arton commended DC Graham, thanking her for her hard work and professionalism across the trial and awarded her a Judges Commendation. Which are only awarded in exceptional circumstances.

Operation Candy – Reported to Cleveland Police 2/9/16

This was originally a vulnerable adult investigation which was passed to DC Graham because of her previous success in similar cases.

The injured party was an elderly lady who died on 23/2/2018. Prior to her death she had limited mental capacity due to dementia however she repeatedly complained that a relative (who was meant to be caring for her) was actually stealing from her.

It was discovered that he had also failed to provide even basic foodstuffs, toiletries and health care.
Due to the overwhelming evidence gathered the defendant pleaded guilty, admitting to stealing £60,000 from his aunt in 2016. Over £68,000 was recovered from his address. 

The man received 2 years and 4 months imprisonment for stealing his aunt’s life savings. A Proceeds of Crime Application is pending. 

Operation Spider – Reported to Police 22/4/17

The injured party was a vulnerable elderly man who lived with and cared for his older sister.  Once she died his loneliness made him susceptible to fraudsters. DC Graham swiftly established the injured party was a repeat victim, having already sent substantial funds overseas.

A protracted investigation revealed the defendant was a 32 year old female drug abuser, who targeted the man. She would make constant false representations to him so he would visit the ATM and withdraw cash for her.

The defendant was arrested and it was established over a period of twelve months between 10/4/16 and 19/4/2017 she had taken the victim’s life savings as he gradually withdrew a total of £32,500.00 in cash from ATMs.

Following complex and extensive inquiries, the defendant was brought before the court, pleaded guilty and received a 3 year sentence on 7th January this year.